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Leica I from 1927 valuation?

Peter Hovmand , Feb 25, 2010; 12:07 p.m.

I am planning to sell an old Leica with the production number 5133.
With that number it must have been produced as a Leica I in 1927, but it has later been converted to a Leica II, see picture.
It is black, nicely worn, fully functioning with a 5cm/3.5 lens.
I have seached the net the to get an idea of the price level to expect, but no where can I find this combination from this early (third) year of production.
Hope somebody can help me, please.

Leica I / II from 1927


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Gus Lazzari , Feb 25, 2010; 12:22 p.m.

The nickel is beautiful, but can you post an image showing the top plate?

The wear pattern on the RF housing doesn't seem to show original paint.

David W. Griffin , Feb 25, 2010; 12:34 p.m.

What is the silver cylinder sticking up through the roof of the rangefinder?

Peter Hovmand , Feb 25, 2010; 01:47 p.m.

Okay, Gus, here is the top plate ...
David, the cylinder must be for a flash ...
Any idea of value?

top plate with number 5133

Alan Clayton , Feb 25, 2010; 02:06 p.m.

The silver cylinder on the r/f cover is a non-standard flash synch socket modification (easily seen by adjusting the image gamma). This will affect the value of the camera, possibly to quite a significant degree. Additionally if the top plate is a non-authentic re-paint job (??) I would expect an even lower valuation.
In 'original condition' and good working order, and without the flash socket abomination/modification, a premier European dealer might ask around Eur500 or possibly Eur750 'at a push'. However, cameras which have been inexpertly modified are not attractive to most people interested in older Leicas, so ultimately the value is simply what a buyer is prepared to pay. I would really expect to see this body offered in my favourite vintage shop at about £100-150 with the lens priced between £100 and £145 - no more.

paul wheatland , Feb 25, 2010; 02:24 p.m.

IMHO the bell push 11 o'clock nickled Elmar should draw a lot of collector interest, possibly more value wise than the camera body which suffers some with unattractive features (namely repainted rangefinder housing and ugly PC connection). Still, the camera and lens could bring $600 to $700 USD mainly because of the rarity of the lens, and the 4 digit body helps.

Peter Hovmand , Feb 25, 2010; 02:39 p.m.

Okay, thanks, good points. I think I will keep this baby, then. It has been in the family for more than 80 years! Lets make that 100 ... I think I will buy myself an M body before that ...
But that was not my plan at all! (Struck by instant Leica fever, sweet :)

Alan Clayton , Feb 25, 2010; 05:25 p.m.

You could say that you have a really great example of a camera with a long and honorable history as a photographic workhorse , rather than a dubious status as a "show-pony". Collectors like the show-ponies; users - though finnicky about all sorts of issues - may be (arguably should be ) less concerned with cosmetic issues than with function and usability. The Leica II, in good working order is a nice usable camera, regardless of the 'carbuncle' . . . which could be removed if and when the camera is serviced. ;-)

BTW - I had somewhat overlooked the lens - as Paul says, that version is often quite sought-after.

Arthur Plumpton , Feb 25, 2010; 08:08 p.m.

If the top addition (and post RF addition) is indeed for flash, I wonder how the flash synchronization was accomplished without the Leitz dial for variable flash delays?

David Bebbington , Feb 26, 2010; 09:49 a.m.

Just a couple of points - it woiuld be incorrect to assume that this camera was converted to Leica II specification at the time the Leica II was current - it could have been much later, hence the relatively unworn paint finish of the RF housing. It could not be converted to higher than Leica II spec without fitting slow speeds.
Yes, cameras with subsequently added flash contacts are not valued by collectors, the fact that the flash contact is on the RF housing does of course mean it would be that much easier to turn the camera back to original Leica I specification (less good as a user, more attractive to collectors). Keep the camera if it has sentimental value, otherwise pre-IIIc models are less good these days as users, hard to keep maintained and unpopular with repairmen, so if you just want a Leica to use, better trade this in for a IIIc/IIIf.

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